Matthew, you turned 7 months old today and I must say that we, your parents, are quite shocked at how you have somehow turned into a big boy overnight! I mean, seriously. You don’t mess around. I looked at you one day last week and thought to myself, You don’t look like a baby anymore!
I must say that this past month has by far been the most fun month with you! Now I know what people mean when they say that it only gets better as babies get older. If I can be honest, I never really believed people when they said that, since it seemed like you only screamed more and slept less with each passing month. Don’t get me wrong, you still do those things. Daddy knows that he is becoming more and more responsible for calming you when you scream endlessly, because Mommy just doesn’t have the nerves for it anymore. But you have developed such a hilarious personality in the past month that I can now truly see why people say that it’s all uphill from here.
You have continued to grow like a fat little weed, measuring in at the 49th percentile for height and the 85th!!!!! percentile for weight. Oh how we love your rolls!
1 month 7 months
Of course, part of your continued growth must be attributed to all the new baby foods that you have eaten this month. As noted in last month’s post, you had already been eating baby oatmeal for a couple weeks by the time you turned 6 months, but it wasn’t until that half a year mark that we introduced you to real life baby food. We started you off with peas, and you totally loved them. It took you a couple days to really figure out how to move all that mushy goodness from the spoon to the back of your mouth so that you could swallow it, but now you’re a pro. In addition to peas, you have also tried green beans, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, avocado, applesauce, pears, and bananas.
Surprisingly, you are a veggie kid. I think you spent your first week and a half getting to know peas, carrots, and green beans, and then we introduced you to to pears. Everyone told us that their kids gobbled up pears when they were babies. Not you! You made a hilarious face that clearly indicated that you were dissatisfied with the stuff and that you would rather eat something green. Seriously?! To be fair, you have since made that face with most new foods that you try (even with sweet potatoes, which everyone also told us would be a slam dunk favorite), but you’re open to trying new foods and have never flat out refused them. The closest you have come to refusing a new food was when I tried to give you baby food chicken the other day. I slid the grainy stuff into your mouth and you kind of mushed it around and slowly squirted it out, letting it hang out on your lips and chin as if to say, “I won’t say ‘no’, but I won’t say ‘yes’ either.” After bravely trying the chicken for 2 days, it appeared that it was possibly hurting your tummy as you screamed in pain approximately 5 hours after each carniverous meal. So we said bye-bye to the baby meats and will try again at some unknown time in the future. You have continued to enjoy eating your baby oatmeal along with various fruits and veggies, and we have even begun to mix in fruit with your oatmeal in the morning. What better way to start off your day with a mixture of oatmeal, mama’s milk, and pears?
You have given up the bottle for all intents and purposes. Daddy barely even tries to give it to you anymore. Instead, he spoon feeds you breast milk with some oatmeal mixed in so that it’s easier to eat. He’s also teaching you how to drink the slightly thickened milk straight from the open cup. No time like the present, am I right? We continue to try to teach you to use a sippy cup, but you’d still rather chew on the rubbery spout than actually drink from it. I was able to get you to drink about a half an ounce of milk from it the other day, though, so that’s a start!
Although we have suspected that you’ve been suffering from pre-teething pain for several months now, you finally cut your first tooth just after you turned 6 months old. You really had to work for that one, and we had you taking baby Tylenol for it on a nightly basis just so that you could get some sleep. Then, all of a sudden, I noticed last week that you had a 2nd tooth. What? When did that get here?! God must have known that we suffered enough through that first tooth, so he just gave us the second one for free. So now you have two little teeth sitting there in the bottom of your mouth, ready to chomp away! Since you like to chew on things anyway, I went ahead and got you a little baby oral care kit so that we can start to get your gums used to being tended to on a daily basis. No more gummy smile for you!
Once your body had calmed down from teething and seemed to figure out how to digest baby food, we decided to begin Operation: Sleep! In case you’re wondering, Operation: Sleep is a project we have undertaken in an effort to help you (and, subsequently, us) sleep more. Our sleep strategies have come from a book called The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night, and we have found it to be a very helpful book that has allowed us to personalize our sleep plan based on some great suggestions in order to make gradual changes to your sleeping habits.
Our first task in Operation: Sleep was to log all your daytime and nighttime and sleeping hours, in addition to logging what the environment was like prior to those events, as well as how you fell asleep, how long you stayed asleep, how long you stayed awake, and how you fell back to sleep. We did our first log February 14th (nothing more romantic than working on sleep, eh?), and it showed that you slept much less than you should for your age within a 24-hour period. You napped 3 short naps for a total of 2 hours and 15 minutes (rather than 2 long naps totaling 3-4 hours), and you slept 9 1/2 hours at night with 7 night wakings (as opposed to 10-11 hours at night), for a grand total of 11 hours and 45 minutes of sleep during a 24 hour period (whereas 6-month-old babies typically benefit most from 14-15 hours per 24 hour period).
This all helped us understand that, quite possibly, part of the reason that you have been having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep is because you were overtired. I’ve learned that “sleep begets sleep”, and so the better you nap, the better you sleep at night. And the better you sleep at night, the better you nap. When babies get overtired, their bodies secrete “stay awake” hormones to fight the tiredness (kind of like getting a second wind), and this makes sleepy time all the more a battle for you and for us. Aren’t you glad we figured this out? Without going into greater detail, we took a few steps to implement a sleep plan and then logged your sleep patterns again after 12 days (because we forgot to do it at the 10-day mark). The results? We are making progress. You are sleeping a greater number of hours throughout the day and night, and you are waking less and for shorter periods during the night. We still have a ways to go, but we are very happy with how well you have taken to some of the new sleep habits we have implemented. Mommy will have to write more about this once you get even better at sleeping.
Of course, after making all this progress in the sleep department, you had to go and learn a bunch of new motor skills, so your body decided that it didn’t need to sleep anymore, as evidenced by this very funny video I took of you the other day during what was supposed to be your nap time.
I should mention that today, on your seven month birthday, you took your longest nap ever…TWO AND A HALF HOURS! I know that’s normal for some babies, but woah! We are so proud.
Last week, seemingly overnight, you began sitting up on your own! Though you still topple at times, you are getting to be pretty good on your hindquarters, and you love being upright more often throughout the day!
As I mentioned earlier, your personality is really starting to show! You love to smile and will show off your wide-mouthed grin to anyone who so much as looks at you. You have the best laugh ever and your daddy and I love to make you cackle, especially when playing peek-a-boo.
You are strong as an ox, both in body and will. If you are determined to move in a particular direction, you WILL do it, no matter what is in your way, and you will cry and sometimes even scream if you can’t. The same is true for putting things in your mouth. If you want to chew on it, you will, no matter what it is or how difficult. This morning you decided you wanted to eat your Daddy’s ankle while you were on the floor next to his chair…so you did. You are determined to be left-handed (just like two of your grandparents) and really don’t like it when we try to make you grab things with your right hand because, dagnabit it!, that’s not how you want to do it. Often, when I change your diaper or try to put on your pants, you will see something out of the corner of your eye that you must grab IMMEDIATELY, and so you swiftly twist around so that you are almost on your belly while I still have a hold of your legs and, let me tell you, it is a workout to get you to your back again to finish the diapering or dressing. How are you stronger than me, you’re just a little baby?!!! I can already tell that we will have our hands full as you become more and more able to assert your will.
You have some very distinct likes and dislikes at this age. Actually, I take that back. You don’t like or dislike things. You either LOVE or you HATE them. You are kind of an all or nothing kid. For instance, you LOVE when we sing The Wheels on the Bus, and it will solve any problem. It will ease your pain, cure your loneliness, and help you fall asleep when you’re just too fussy to relax. You also LOVE reading Elmo’s Garden and Clifford Counts 1-2-3. If we open up either of those books (especially Elmo because it makes funny noises) and stand them up on the floor near you, you WILL find a way to flip yourself around so that you are propped up on your tummy with a clear view of the pages. It’s hilarious.
However, you HATE having anything done to your nose area and will scream with a passion. You’ve spent the last week battling a cold and some thick congestion which means that we, your loving parents, have had to use the bulb syringe to suction out your snot and then have needed to spray saline solution up your nose. Ohhhhh the screeeeeeeams. Now you pull away anytime we try to go near your face, even just to wipe your nose. But you are able to recover quickly and resume putting everything in your mouth as if nothing ever happened.
Your daddy and I think that you’re really starting to understand a lot more when it comes to words and actions. For example, you now respond to your name! Daddy wasn’t sure if it was your name or just the sound of his voice that you were responding to, so he experimented by calling for you with other nicknames, and it wasn’t until he said your actual name that you turned around and smiled at him. You really do know your name! You also seem to be catching on to some of the keywords and baby signs that we use, like “more” and “all done”. I take advantage of this when you’re nursing, so if you get distracted and start looking around the room (as you often do), I simply say, “more?” and then you turn your head back around and continue eating. It’s great. I’ve started using more key phrases with you too, in the hopes that this will increase your understanding of what’s about to happen or what’s expected of you. Like when I feed you in the high chair, you often grab the spoon out of my hand so that you can shove it in your mouth and start chewing on it. Rather than grab it back from you, I’ve started simply placing my hand out and asking, “Can I have it?” and you usually drop the spoon within a second or two of my request. Way to go!
Your greatest adventure between 6 and 7 months was our last-minute trip to Forest Home. Daddy’s high schoolers needed a female counselor, so the day before camp, I decided to step in and accept the challenge. That meant that not only did you get to spend two days and nights atop a forested mountain (hence the camp’s name), you also got to share a room with a bunch of high school girls. Hot stuff! We were able to push the mattress all the way to the wall, so you and I got to share a bottom bunk while the gabby girls tiptoed and whispered and went to bed early for fear of waking you. Way to take charge!
Well, Matthew, this has been quite a month. This post is super long because I just had so much to say about you! Though things are not perfect, and we still have a lot that needs to be figured out so that you are well fed and rested, you sure are a lot of fun. You are a joy and a delight, and I love being greeted by your little face each morning as you coo and smile and announce to the world that it’s time to rise and shine. I still can’t believe how much you have changed and learned in the past month, and I absolutely cannot wait to see what this next month holds.
I love you, handsome boy!